Aug 15, 2009

The Interdisciplinary World of Dance and Interactive Technology:

After I finished my post "What happens when engineers and musicians get together? They get Calvin Harris "Ready for the Weekend" with the Humanthesizer and Bare Ink", I thought I'd catch up on the world of dance and technology.

I took a look at an on-line community, Dance-Tech.NET which focuses on the "interdisciplinary explorations on the performance of motion". I was happy to find that two people I know are members of this vibrant group of people:

Celine Latulipe

Dr. Celine Latulipe is a Human-Computer Interaction researcher at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. She is the lead in the Dance.Draw project, a collaboration between the Software and Information Systems department, the Department of Dance, and a digital artist.

A Mischief of Mus Musculus”

As Celine puts it, "You are more than your eyes and one hand. Why should you have to be less than you are when confronted with a digital device? Exquisite interaction is a collection of research projects...that aim to enrich your expressive creativity in the digital realm by allowing you and your collaborators to use more of your body in that digital interaction"

Visualization code was designed by Mike Wirth, using Processing, to create the art displayed on the Art from Dance page of the Dance.Draw project.

Doug Fox

Doug Fox
created and maintains the Great Dance and Kinetic Interface blogs. When he was 42, he decided to study dance - modern, ballet, and jazz. He is interested in the intersection of dance and technology, and more recently became involved in the study of animation related to dance and movement.

The following is from Doug's "About" page - the videos and links are worth exploring:

"As a starting point, I'd like to encourage readers to visit the
Movement Is at the Heart of Scientific and Technological Change background page. Here you will find 16 videos (plus links to more videos) that show in very concrete terms how new computer interfaces and digital devices being used in a range of fields are, in essence, body-centric and movement-centric..."

Here is a sample of Doug's topics:

Dance Theater Workshop's Twitter Community Choreography
Dance Vlogging, Will this Video Genre Increase in Popularity?
Shoot Dance Videos with the new iPhone 3GS
Prodigy Warrior's Dance Combines Stop-Motion Animation and Puppetry
Choreographing Gesture Controls for Interactive Devices (be sure to read the comments and link to Arizona State University: School of Arts, Media and Engineering)

Doug Fox writes about topics that are truly interdisciplinary:

Dance Your Ph.D. Contest - A Wonderful Merging of Dance and Science
This contest was funded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The objective of the contest? "Using no words or images, interpret your Ph.D. thesis in dance form".

Contest winners were paired with choreographers, who created a new dance work based on a peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal. (The Science Dance Match-Up Challenge)

I just had to post the videos here - you can read detailed descriptions about each video on YouTube:

The role of Vitamin D in beta-cell function

Cerebral activation patterns induced by inflection of regular and irregular verbs with positron emission tomography: A comparison between single subject and group analysis

A Molecular Dance in the Blood, Observed

Popular Choice: Physics Tango "Single Molecule Measurements of Protelomerase TelK-DNA Complexes."

For a look at the 2008 "Dance Your Ph.D." videos, and the the videos of the 2009 contest entries, visit the 2009 AAS/Science Dance Contest web page.

The four videos generated by the professional choreographers can be accessed on Vimeo.

Links to the scientific articles, the bios of the choreographers and scientists, and videos of the choreographer's renditions of the scientist's work can be found on the Science/AAAS website:

The Gonzo Scientist: The Science Dance Match-Up Challenge
John Bohannon, Science, 4/17/09

Usually I reserve this section for links and information from external sources, but this time, I thought I'd share a few of my opinions that are somewhat related to this topic.

Why do I think interdisciplinary pursuits are important?

In my opinion, to move forward, the arts and other disciplines need to embrace the interdisciplinary way of thinking. There is much that is mixing and converging as I type these words. There is less emphasis for young people to pick one little corner of a field of study and make it their life's obsession. I have always had an "interdisciplinary" approach to life, ever since I can remember. I attribute this to my parents, who nurtured me as a musical, dancing, artistic child to pursue my talents at a young age, and when faced with choosing a college major, to go for a double major.

My interdisciplinary nature has fueled my journey into the world of technology, and my early background in the arts probably explains why I'm excited about interactive multimedia, extending into the realms of emmersive games, multi-touch and gesture interaction, and technology-supported interaction that takes place in larger public spaces.


As many of my readers know, I work as a school psychologist in my "day job". I DO miss the time when I was working part-time and taking graduate classes at UNC-Charlotte, but when the economy went downhill, It was necessary for me to return to work full-time.

The upcoming academic year will be busy! With the recent budget cuts to school districts in the in the state of North Carolina, I will have another school added to my schedule. I'm excited that it is a high school for technology and the arts, and that the school has a strong dance program!

I've posted quite a bit recently, since I have plenty to share. Soon I will only have time to post about 3 times a week.

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